The 1st Annual Toronto Independent Music Awards, known as the TIMA’s, took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, October 5, 2005. It was hosted by Josie Dye of The Edge/102 FM. This diversified music extravaganza was held at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. In August 2005, the Rolling Stones performed a surprise concert at the Phoenix, prior to their 2005 World Tour.
Martin Brown, originally from Britain (and still retaining a very-George Formby-sounding accent), founded the Orange County (California) Music Awards in 2002. Based on its success these past three years, Brown’s founded the TIMA’s here in Toronto along the same lines. This show was co-produced with Daniela Oliva from Toronto. Brown says the purpose is to "Bring awareness to the public of all the great talent that’s out there." By the looks of things, this admirable goal seems to have met its altruistic objective.
The TIMA’s were in 21 categories covering a wide music spectrum from R&B to blues, jazz, country, folk, world, urban, hip-hop and rock. The 13 live performances this night showcased this diversification in music styles, with everything from heavy rock to country/folk/blues, jazz, hip-hop and more.
One of the highlights was the highly unusual ‘operatic rock’ performance from Patrizia, whose operatic vocals blended surprisingly well with the rock instrumentals accompanying her. Patrizia’s new CD The Edge of Emotion, features super-funky LMT Connection drummer Mark Rodgers, (who’s an integral part of Toronto’s Orbit Room talent roster), along with Northern Blues label guitarist extraordinaire Kevin Breit of John & The Sisters, (a ‘space oddity’ of the best musical kind)! A band called Tricycle won for Best Jazz, but unfortunately didn't appear live.
Singer Eha, won the award for Best International. She flew in from Estonia to attend the TIMA’s and was also a presenter. She performed some tantalizing dance moves along with captivating vocals on two of her originals "Try Me" and "Show Me How" from her CD Together impressing the audience with her stage presence and friendly personality onstage and off.
Another of the superb performers this night, was the always entertaining Peter Verity, who won the TIMA for Best Folk -- and deservedly so! Verity’s a popular entertainer on the Toronto music scene, whose original songs are both imaginative and invigorating to listen to. He was nominated in the Best Song category for "Healing Rain" (but unfortunately didn’t win). He performed this enchanting song, and the heartwarming "Blue As I Can Get" with fellow prolific composer/performer Sebastian Agnello as an acoustic guitar duo. Verity’s top-notch harp playing and vocals harmonized well. His acoustic guitar playing along with Agnello’s, possesses a full, rich sound. (Agnello’s been on the Toronto scene since the late ‘60s, when as part of the Lords Of London, he opened for Jimi Hendrix at Maple Leaf Gardens).
Folk performer Angie Nussey won for Best Song. Her solo acoustic guitar and vocals were great to watch. Nussey’s original tunes are extremely imaginative and full of flair. She was another of the fine performers featured this night.
The only down side of this evening’s otherwise spectacular entertainment, occurred when Eden Ants played. Although they won for Best Indie Rock and played great, their talent on stage was marred by excessive volume.
The monitor person for this event was Jimmy Palmer, who worked the past four months on the road with the Stones. (In August 2004, Palmer was part of the sound crew for the Great Lakes Jam -- working with stars like Johnny Winter, Eric Burdon, Joe Walsh and Alice Cooper). This evening’s soundman John Watt recently worked for jazz singer Matt Dusk.
The stage manager was Jim Zeppa -- a part of the Phoenix, since its early days as the Diamond Club. (Zeppa also worked with Palmer at The Great Lakes Jam as press, public relations and promotion). In regards to the TIMA’s, Zeppa mentioned: "Several comments were made about how efficient and smoothly run this show was!" This writer has to wholeheartedly agree. There were only a matter of minutes between acts, which added to the excitement. This was a complicated show (due to the amount of bands showcased), but it ran extremely well, making it look like an easy feat to accomplish.
There were a couple of amazing rock acts featured, including Little Sun Day and Last In Line. ‘Sun Day’ were high energy all the way -- with rousing vocals and wild, melodic guitar riffs, that really got the crowd to stand up and take notice.
Hip-hop artist r.a.w. child was nominated in two categories, and won for Best Hip-Hop Artist. He performed with backup singer JC. They really had it together with tight vocals and background rhythms.
Last In Line were last to perform. They’re a rock band from Windsor, ON, and all are 20 years old. Their energetic finale kept the crowd’s attention for almost an hour after the last award of the evening was presented. Nominated but not winning, they were one of the top acts this night.
The 1st Annual Toronto Independent Music Awards was a major success. This is even more significant when one considers the fact this was only its first year in existence. Over 400 music fans and fellow artists attended this event. Phoenix manager Enzo Petrungaro said this huge turnout ensured the TIMA’s would be welcomed back next year.
Towards the end of this highly enjoyable evening’s entertainment, TIMA founder Martin Brown mentioned to the audience, "We’ll be back next year and pack this place!" This should be an easy feat to accomplish, considering the high caliber of performances and exciting awards presentations that took place this night. This is in addition to the superb acoustics and friendly atmosphere the Phoenix Concert Theatre provides.